What are the adverse effects of interferon alfa (IFN-a) for the treatment of hepatitis B (HBV) (Hep B)?

Updated: Aug 01, 2018
  • Author: Nikolaos T Pyrsopoulos, MD, PhD, MBA, FACP, AGAF; Chief Editor: BS Anand, MD  more...
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Answer

Special attention must be given to patients with HBV-decompensated cirrhosis (eg, ascites, encephalopathy) who are taking IFN-a, owing to the fact that, although they occasionally may have a treatment response, these individuals can also deteriorate further.

The adverse effects of IFN-a treatment can sometimes be severe, even devastating. Some patients cannot complete the treatment. A flulike syndrome, myelosuppression (eg, leukopenia, thrombocytopenia), nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, irritability, depression, thyroid dysfunction, and alopecia are among the adverse effects that may occur.


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